Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bilateral trade with Colombia set to grow

The perspective of growth of bilateral trade between India and Colombia is impressive, according to Alejandro Pelaez, the Commercial Attache, Embassy of Colombia, New Delhi.
Speaking to The Hindu after a seminar organised here by the EEPC India on Friday on “Doing Business with Latin American Countries”, he said that Colombian exports to India grew from $ 16 million in 2008 to $ 500 million in 2009. The main drivers of exports were petroleum, coal and sugar. This year, Colombian exports to India were expected to be worth $ 600 million. Petroleum exported to India was going up and the Indian companies were buying thermal and coking coal too in large quantities. New products, such as confectionery, were also seeing an increasing market in India.
India had a $ 100-million positive trade balance with Colombia last year. Exports from India to Colombia were growing consistently. Chemicals, textiles, pharmaceuticals and motor cycles were some of the major goods exported to Colombia by India. Indian exports to Colombia were expected to be 15 per cent to 20 per cent more this year than last year. “For both sides, the growth is going to be impressive,” he said. In 2006, about 60 visas were given a month to Colombia. Now, it was more than 180 a month and most of these were business visas.
Apart from trade, Indian investments were also growing in Colombia. Indian companies were joining hands with local partners, especially on the automobile and pharmaceutical fronts, to start production facilities. Indian companies were eligible for incentives if they started units in the Free Trade Zones.
Investment by Indian companies in Colombia between 2006 and 2009 was $ 1 billion. Some of the sectors that were encouraged to invest in Colombia were IT, hotels, hospitals, auto components, vehicles, engineering goods, plastic packaging and pharmaceuticals.
The Colombian economy was expected to grow at 4.5 per cent this year.
The demand was growing for capital goods. Bigger companies in Colombia were able to purchase from Europe or the U.S. The smaller companies were looking at Indian suppliers for cost competitiveness.
Currently, China, Brazil, Germany, the U.S. and Mexico were the leading suppliers of capital goods to Colombia.
The commercial office in New Delhi provided sector-wise information and legal support to potential investors. According to R. Ravichandran, Secretary General of Indo-LAC Chamber of Commerce, Chennai, the Colombian economy is growing and they want Indians to export to their country.
K. Kasthurirangaian, Chairman of the Function Committee for Coimbatore, EEPC India, said traders from West Asian countries, the U.S. and Europe were mainly bridging the trade needs between the Latin American countries and India so far.
Now, Latin American companies were interested in direct exports and quality products.

Alejandro Pelaez, Commercial Attache, Embassy of Colombia, New Delhi, speaking at a seminar in Coimbatore on Friday.

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